If you're not from New York (or if you're like me and you generally ignore the news), you may not know that a bill is in the works that would ban drivers from texting on their cellphones, handheld organizers, electronic Twinkies, or whatever else people are using to send and receive text messages, within the New York City limits. Frankly, I had just assumed texting while driving was already illegal in New York, just like talking on a cellphone while driving is. I mean, why would one be legal and not the other? Moreover, texting is way more distracting than just talking. I don't think you should be allowed to do anything with your cellphone while you're driving, but you can at least still look at the road while you're talking. Allowing texting but not talking while driving is like saying it's OK to carry a gun and to shoot people with it, but you can't use the gun to bludgeon anybody.
Law or no law, driving while using a cellphone is still a major problem here in New York, and a high percentage of the drivers who cut me off, back into me, stop abruptly in front of me, or slowly merge into me like they're trying to perform reverse cellular mitosis are also doing something with a cellphone. (Usually, that involves cradling them lovingly in the folds of their neck fat.) Which is why I was pleased to encounter this gentleman:
You'd just expect a fellow with slicked-back hair driving a vintage Mercedes convertible on a summer day in downtown Manhattan to be talking on a cellphone, but he wasn't. And I say, "Good for him!" In fact, I'm thinking about doing a series of PSAs in which I try to convince drivers they can still flaunt their vehicles and themselves without using cellphones while they do it, and if I do I'm using this guy for the first ad. The copy could say something like:
Plus, when you've got a cellphone stuck to the side of your head all the time, you tend to miss some of the riches the streets of New York (or in this case, of Brooklyn) have to offer. Like this:
Fixedgeargallery and Velospace are fine, but fixed-gears are also naturally occurring and sometimes the best ones are out there in the wild. To see one this nice though you have to come to Brooklyn. (There's no way the owner of this bike ever takes it into Manhattan, because that chain wouldn't last a second there. You might as well just tie the bike to a tree with a pair of pantyhose.) I'm particularly "feeling" the padding on both the top tube and the stem, the thermal sippy cup, and the cosmetic wrapping around the seat cluster. Note also the front wheel is unlocked despite ample chain slack, in keeping with the current style.
This is the sort of thing that corporations like The Great Trek Bicycle Making Company try to appropriate, reproduce, and sell, but simply can't. Take this bike, for example, which was forwarded to me by a reader:
I'm glad to see Trek have picked some of the goofier elements of urban fixed-gear bicycles, divorced them from their ostensible purposes, and welded them together into this...thing. Looking at this, I feel like Kramer's fake boss at Brant Leland: "I don't know what this is supposed to be." Is it for going fast in a straight line? Some sort of drag bike, maybe? Do people who live in cities want bikes with long wheelbases that aren't designed to turn quickly? Is the 650c for mad bar spinzzz? Will it clear the downtube? Or is it just to be aero? What's the point of the rear brake only? What's the point of any of it?!? And why is a company from Wisconsin implying that anybody who's understandably too afraid to ride this contraption needs to "get back to the 'burbs?" Do they even have cities in Wisconsin from which to retreat?
We've seen gorilla bikes again and again; however, in this case I don't think that's what's riding this bike. Instead, I think it's somebody who's slowly training his body so that one day he may engage in the ancient and elusive practice of autofellatio. If this bike was photographed in front of a yoga studio then that will clinch it for me. By the time those bars reach the front axle I wouldn't expect to see this guy leaving his house much anymore.
...since the frame is 62cm it requires a very long steer tube and the one the fork came with wasn't long enough so with some help from my uncle I had a solid piece of aluminum turned down on the lathe to the exact diameter as the 1 1/8 steer tube on both the inside and outside out the pipe, then it was welded throughly around the seem and now it's very solid and an inch and a half longer. Since the frame is intended for an integrated headset and the fork I had wasn't integrated I had to machine down the standard 1 1/8 threadless headset down just enough to drop it in the frame only the upper cup need work, them I filled the gap where the internal bearings should have been with some tight fitting o rings and buttoned it all together.
Firstly, I'm pretty sure if Leader make a 62cm bike they'll also sell you a fork to go with it. Secondly, I'm also pretty sure a fork couldn't care less whether it's used with a standard or an integrated headset, provided it's got the right race on it. In any case, this baby's had more front-end butchery than Jennifer Grey. I'd be even more afraid to ride it than that Trek thing. I guess I need to get back to the 'burbs.
But how can I? There are just so many great things to see here. Especially in Brooklyn, which has become so trendy that people on Bedford Ave. are now--quite literally--wearing trash bags: